TCU joins the Big 12

Andrew Krammer

Texas Christian has agreed to terms with the Big 12 to join the conference for the 2012-2013 season.

TCU is the latest program to exit the Big East; the Horned Frogs were set to join the dwindling conference on July 1, 2012. Though this doesn’t mean the end of the Big East, the conference is down to six football playing members in Louisville, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Rutgers and South Florida.

TCU will fill the hole that Texas A&M left in the Big 12, becoming its 10th member. The Big 12 will now look to keep its members like Missouri from leaving, while attempting to reach the magic number of 12 teams – which allows for a conference championship game.

If Missouri goes to the SEC, the Big 12 will look to expand quickly; putting the Big East in jeopardy since its members are shaken enough by the mass exodus that has occurred in the matter of a month.

Connecticut and Pittsburgh left the Big East for the ACC in September, causing a domino effect in the Big East which undoubtedly led to TCU withdrawing its commitment to join in 2012. The Big East presidents will hold a meeting on Friday to discuss expansion.

The Big 12 has been impressive in its response to conference realignment. In a matter of days the conference has added TCU, agreed to a six-year minimum grant of television rights and eventually settled on an agreement for Texas’ notorious Longhorn Network.

The new Big 12 revenue sharing plan locks up each teams first and second tier television rights, leaving the programs in contorl of their third tier. This means Texas will not have to share any revenue from the cash cow network deal with ESPN, dubbed the Longhorn Network.

In an ethical decision, Texas agreed to a six-year restriction that bans them from showing high school games or highlights on their Longhorn Network. This happened after a growing fear that ESPN would have a conflict of interest and aid in recruiting violations since they have a financial stake in the success of Texas athletics.